Miles Kastendieck in the Post:
Whatever possessed Rudolf Bing to open the Metropolitan Opera’s 84th season with Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur,” he could smile cynically last night and point to a packed house with a box office record of $126,000. He may have done a disservice in reviving the work five years ago even though Renata Tebaldi was fond of it, but he underscored that fact by reverting to an outworn tradition when not the opera but the star of the performance and the opening night audience took the spotlight. . . .
It was, then, a prima donna’s evening. Yet, for a role she loves so much, hers was not an outstanding performance either vocally or dramatically. Miss Tebaldi had her moments to be sure, especially in spinning pianissimos and letting a beautiful voice caress certain phrases. She sounded in better voice than last season, but the wavering in pitch and the white fortissimos persist. She gained stature act by act, but the artificiality of her stage movement detracted from a convincing portrayal of an essentially dramatic role. In the Death Scene she came nearest to acting naturally. . . .
Franco Corelli sang the glamour role of Maurizio with his customary brilliance. Inevitably the other star of the performance, he awakened the thought that he is singing better than ever. Gifted with an exceptional tenor, he has only to acquire still more finesse to be completely worthy of it. He moves more easily and takes fewer poses though it remains hard to believe that he can get inside a role. Even in an opera like this, such an accomplishment would be welcome.
Born on this day in 1918 or thereabouts mezzo-soprano Blanche Thebom .
Birthday anniversaries of composer Lyubomir Pipkov (1904) and conductor Kurt Sanderling (1912).